Your first college dorm room is often the first time many you experience the discomforts of adulthood in your young life. You’re crammed into a tiny box with white washed cement walls with a complete stranger. This shared space is a far cry from the comfortable and familiar home you came from.
Many college freshmen end up sending half a carload of stuff back home, overestimating the amount of space they’ll be granted. While it’s important to pack light, and seasonally, there are a handful of items that will make your brief stay in this little cell far more enjoyable.
10 Tips to Make Your College Dorm Feel Like Home
1. Maximize Closet Space
One thing you have at home that you definitely will not have in college is space. Going home for Thanksgiving? Bring your summer wear and forgo packing every little layer you own. When you head home for Turkey Day, plan to check your bag and swap your light clothing for sweaters, jackets, and scarves. Another simple, inexpensive closet solution are vertical hangers — small hanging strips of hooks that allow to hang up to 8 articles of clothing vertically, utilizing all your closet space.
2. Soft Lighting
Rather than make use of the harsh, fluorescent overhead ceiling lights, it’s worth it to make a little room for a nice desk lamp with a “warm” bulb — one that diffuses a warm yellow glow instead of a harsh, bright white glare.
3. Slippers or Slipper Socks
What’s that weird stain on the carpet? Why is the linoleum floor perpetually sandy no matter how much you Swiffer? No need to care if your feet never touch the floor. Even if you weren’t into slippers at home, now is the time. College dorm rooms are notoriously disgusting, collecting decades of grunge that no amount of elbow grease will lift. A comfortable pair of slippers or a few pairs of slipper socks will go a long way.
4. Mattress Pad
No matter what you decide to bring, definitely opt for a high-quality mattress pad — one that will last you the full four years. The mattress you will sleep on is absolutely older than you. Serta makes extra fancy mattress pads that will provide you with a layer of its signature memory foam for a plush sleeping experience. A good night’s sleep is critical to performing at your peak, so don’t pass on this advice!
5. Oversized Coffee Mug
Think about items that could serve multiple purposes. A bowl-like coffee cup will get a lot of use over four years, for way more than coffee. It could also be a ramen bowl, a cereal bowl, hot chocolate mug, a Chex Mix holder, or heck eat a slice of pizza out of it — whatever. One of those and a spoon, fork, and knife are all you’ll need in a limited space.
6. Pajama Pants
Pajama pants are not just for sleeping! Keep in mind that you’ll likely be rolling out of bed and sprinting to class in these, so you’ll want to have pajama pants with some style. Check out our back-to-college style guide for inspiration.
7. Induction Cooktop
Many college campuses have banned hot plates, so if you’re craving a hot meal — especially during cold winter months — and the cafeteria isn’t an option, you’re out of luck. Induction cooktops don’t actually get hot. They heat the cookware on top of the cooktop. Now you can enjoy a bowl of ramen without burning the dorm down.
Posters are the classic way to cover those unsightly white concrete walls. For a softer homey look opt for a tapestry instead. They come in so many colors and styles that guys and girls with varying tastes can find something that suits them. Tapestries are large expanses of patterned fabric that will immediately soften the look of your dorm room cell, and diffuse that harsh fluorescent lighting.
9. Room Dividing Curtain
Thanks to Amazon, you can easily find 1000 dorm room privacy solutions, including an awkward but efficient twin-sized over-bed tent to zip yourself into. A great solution if you or your parents are handy, is a neutral-colored room-dividing curtain. They come with a heavy-duty tension rod (like a shower rod on steroids) and a heavy fabric that will provide floor-to-ceiling privacy as long as you can hang it between two walls. There are also hospital style room dividers that involve screwing a track into the ceiling. You will want to get approval from both your roommate and your RA before implementing.
10. Plush Bathrobe
You have no control over the fact that you have to share three grimey shower stalls with 40 other college freshman, but you can control how you feel while you’re walking there! Invest in a plush bathrobe that makes you feel warm, cozy, and comfortable. And shower sandals. Definitely don’t forget the shower sandals…
Embrace every pajama-filled, pizza-laden, coffee-saturated, sleep-deprived moment of your college experience — and good luck to the class of 2022! For the latest back-to-college tips, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.